Youth violence victims and perpetrators in Ontario: identifying a high-risk group and a focus for public health prevention
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OBJECTIVES: Bullying and violence are common experiences and pose significant lifelong burdens of disease for youth. This study identifies upstream determinants of youth violence and examines the shared characteristics of victims and perpetrators. METHODS: Multivariable multinomial logistic regression modeling analyzed a subsample of 5403 students who participated in the 2015 Ontario Student Drug Use and Health Survey to estimate the likelihood that students with various risk profiles were victims and perpetrators. RESULTS: Risk factors associated with an increased likelihood of being both a victim and a perpetrator, compared to neither, included harmful alcohol use, potential problem drug use, psychological distress, traumatic brain injury, problem video game playing, fighting, and carrying a weapon in the past 12 months. Many risk factors were more strongly associated with both victimization and perpetration relative to reporting either alone. CONCLUSION: This study demonstrates an association between risk factors of interest to public health for students reporting both victimization and perpetration. This group may warrant further targeted public health interventions to prevent violence alongside existing public health programs addressing other health risk behaviours.
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